by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Growing in majesty
When I last had a look at Majesty 2, I fiddled around with an early Beta that lacked many of the features that would make it into the full game. Despite the lack of polish, the game showed promise and I have been eager to see more ever since. The latest preview build looks nearly finished, has no placeholder graphics and a full campaign. In other words, the game has come a long way since February. Time for an updated look.
Majesty 2’s new build shows off its maturity right from the get-go. The interface has received a complete makeover and looks great and, more importantly, finished. The drab brown and grey color scheme has been replaced with warm shades of royal blue combined with gold which makes the game much more pleasing to look at. The same polish can be found throughout the rest of the game, with the exception of the campaign texts and the voice work which is still in Russian.
I was able to play probably just over halfway through the campaign when I was presented with a mission to gather “lots of gold” in preparation for a war against, well... I will let you find that out for yourself. In any case, the objectives didn’t specify how much gold was needed and after a few attempts I gave up. I am sure this will be made very clear in the final game though, but it does give you an impression of how finished the game really is.
Optional campaign paths
You have some say over which part of the campaign you would like to play first by selecting a mission. They can be picked from an overall map that shows which missions are available, along with some information about the objective's difficulty level. With the exception of a few choke points, there is usually more than one mission to choose from. Finishing a mission successfully will open up new missions so that you can work your way through the campaign. The map also shows missions that are not available just yet, telling you which missions need to be finished before it becomes playable.
Once you have chosen a mission, your advisor tells you what challenges lie ahead. Once he is done, the work begins. The early missions have a leisurely pace to help get you accustomed to the controls and the different building options. The pace soon picks up though. To win the later missions, your vigilance needs to be up almost the moment you enter the map. All sorts of creatures will be pounding at the doors of your budding community.
Heroes level up rapidly and thus become invaluable allies. It is your job as a ruler to provide them with whatever they need to defeat the incoming menace and rid the countryside of lairs and hideouts. Your marketplace, smithy and other buildings are instrumental in the success of your heroes and upgrading them is a number one priority. These buildings produce weapon and armor upgrades as well as health and mana potions that can be bought by your heroes once they have earned a bit of cash. With enough potions, the heroes can withstand attacks from any but the most powerful foes.
To defeat the higher level foes, your heroes will often have to ‘party up’ which is facilitated by the town tavern. Heroes will stop by the tavern for a drink, allowing you to place them into groups. A well balanced mix of frontline warriors and rearguard healers and mages, will be able to withstand almost anything. Yet even in parties Heroes may die. Fortunately, that does not have to mean the end. Fallen heroes can be raised with the appropriate spell (available to you through research) or from the cemetery. The cemetery is automatically placed when your first hero has fallen and will charge you an arm and a leg to restore your higher level warriors. The expense is usually well worth it though, as the alternative is to have rookie heroes fight level 15 foes.
Being such valuable assets, I was glad to see that you can bring some of them along for future battles. After each mission, you can promote one Hero to Lord. Up to three Lords can be recruited during each mission. They continue to grow in skill and level during each mission that you recruit them for. Their price, however, is incredibly steep and keeps rising along with their level.
Bowing before His Majesty
There is a lot more to tell about Majesty 2, but I will reserve that for our review. I am glad to see the enormous progress that the game has made since February. With everything that has been achieved so far, I am certain that Majesty 2 will make a triumphant return when it is released this September.